This is a deer mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus
, a hantavirus carrier that becomes a threat when it enters human habitation in rural and suburban areas.
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a deadly disease transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings, or saliva. Humans can contract the disease when they breathe in aerosolized virus. HPS was first recognized in 1993, and has since been identified throughout the United States. Although rare, HPS is potentially deadly. Rodent control in and around the home remains the primary strategy for preventing hantavirus infection. All hantaviruses known to cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) are carried by New World rats and mice of the family Muridae, subfamily Sigmodontinae, which contains at least 430 species that are widespread throughout North and South America.